“Smarter Thinking and Trial and Error x 17”

In looking at the impact games have on kids, there are a number of popularly held perspectives. Out of school, many see games as a frill – harmless, but needing to be closely managed, for example through limitations on screen time. Others see games as a potential menace that need to be controlled through careful consideration of ratings scales to preserve childhood innocence. Games in school are often monitored and measured for their educational outcomes. The goal here is to Raise Test Scores. Where the tasks are odious or dull, gamification through on screen rewards offers the potential of making the task palatable. The metaphor of “chocolate-covered broccoli” captures this nicely. For game design, the easy way out is to adopt a “curriculum in a box” teaching manual (e.g. Ploor, 2013) which provides extensively pre-scripted game design processes, expect very little of the teacher, and leads to uniform, grade-able student outcomes. Whether the goal is playing or designing, we can do better. A critical step in this process is the careful architecture of the environment in which the game is played.

Building Epistemological Presence in Game Spaces
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